THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-Central Visayas (LTFRB 7) urges local government units (LGUs), national government agencies and private firms to apply for franchise and special operating permits for their transport vehicles.
Eduardo Montealto Jr., LTFRB 7 director, says LGUs and other offices must to do so to prevent private transport operators from paying a P1 million fine for operating during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period in Cebu.
Since the ECQ began, LGUs, government agencies and private firms in Central Visayas have hired bus and coach companies to convey employees or constituents who have jobs in major cities.
Under the ECQ, all modes of public transportation, including public utility vehicles, shall suspend its operations to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and promote telecommuting.
“Only those with special permits from LTFRB 7 are allowed to shuttle passengers of essential and exempted companies. Only PUVs with legitimate franchises or the Certificate of Public Convenience can be granted these special permits,” Montealto told SunStar Cebu.
Montealto also warned that PUVs (public utility vehicles) operating without special permits from the LTFRB will be considered as “colorums.”
He said the special permit costs P170 per unit and is valid for three days. But PUV operators can secure the special permit for free if the LGU or national government agency hires them at no cost.
Montealto disclosed that they have issued 29 special permits for 55 units since the ECQ was implemented in some provinces in the region.
Some of those that availed of the special permits are the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, the Cebu Provincial Government, and the city governments of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu City.
“To avail of the free special permit, the concerned LGU should submit an endorsement letter to the LTFRB office, requesting for the grant of the special permit to a certain transport company, stating in said request the passengers who will be shuttled, and the name of the exempt establishment or essential industry classification whom the buses will cater to,” Montealto added.
Separately, Secretary Michael Dino, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, thanked Montealto and LTFRB 7 for facilitating their request for special permits for their Malasakit buses.
Since the beginning of the ECQ in Cebu, 15 Malasakit buses have assisted close to 6,000 health workers and medical frontliners with free transportation. (HBL / JKV)